Teach for America: There is much work to be done

I was struck by the truth of this statement by Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach for America and an evangelist for education reform in low-income areas:
"Six percent of the kids who are growing up in the communities where we were working will graduate from college," says Kopp. "We believe that that issue has to be our generation's civil rights issue."
Based on my work with Dare Not Walk Alone and my experiences in the predominantly black neighborhood of West Augustine, I am inclined to agree. I think there is a whole sector of American society that has been below most folks' radar for the last twenty years or so. These are families, even entire communities, where nobody, not the parents or the kids, has a high school education.

Not that a high school education is, in itself, a great benchmark, but the correlation between graduating high school and "making it" in our society is well established. Yes, you can get by without one, but it is going to take exceptional effort, and the kind of hope that rarely flourishes in this part of our society. And frankly, if it wasn't for hurricane Katrina, I think a lot of Americans would still believe these neglected souls don't exist.

So, I say Wendy Kopp's organization is to be acclaimed for stepping up to this challenge and framing it in these terms. Read the NBC story here.

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